Letter: Allegations against Martin | PostIndependent.com

Letter: Allegations against Martin

Garfield County Commissioner John Martin has denied allegations of financial malfeasance leveled by the county’s Democratic Party, and remains innocent until proven otherwise. I’m eager, however, to hear Mr. Martin’s response to the letter from former Garfield County Manager Ed Green, which appeared in an Oct. 6 Post Independent advertisement.

Green’s letter appears to provide new insight into the previously unexplained departures of several senior county officials. It also raises concerns about the wisdom of re-electing 20-year incumbent Commissioner Martin for another four years.

For those who missed it, let me recap:

In the ad, Green describes a secretly convened Oct. 28, 2011, meeting at which Commissioner Martin announced he was personally taking charge of the county’s real estate sales and purchases. Green claims he was fired for objecting to that arrangement, and to demands that he dismiss four senior staff members and give the elected commissioners direct oversight over many day-to-day county operations. Soon afterward, Green and several of his top staffers were dismissed.

In a 2012 Post Independent article, Martin described the shakeup as a necessary “business decision” that was in “the best interests of the county.” But that wasn’t the end of the turmoil. Three years later, Martin cited “personality conflicts” as the reason for the abrupt resignations of yet another county manager and county attorney. Like the earlier departees, these executives received costly severance packages.

Green’s letter says that Martin used to be eager to transform county government into a professional, well-run organization. But in recent years, it adds, Martin has led the charge “to return the organization to one driven by political influence and intimidation.”

Green, a self-described conservative Republican who now serves as a Rifle city councilman, says he cannot support the re-election of Martin – a “professional politician” who seems to believe he’s “more important than the office he occupies.”

Ultimately, voters must decide whether to view all this as simply the bitter rants of a disgruntled former employee, or as the uniquely qualified observations of a former insider who served the county faithfully for 13 years.

Russ Arensman

Glenwood Springs

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